Tavish Scott leaves Scottish Rugby to do something fishy

Former Liberal Democrat MSP was appointed to the newly created role of Head of External Affairs 14 months ago

Tavish Scott is leaving Scottish Rugby to take up a role in the salmon industry. Image courtesy: Shetland Times
Tavish Scott is leaving Scottish Rugby to take up a role in the salmon industry. Image courtesy: Shetland Times

TAVISH SCOTT will step down as Head of External Affairs for Scottish Rugby in November, just 16 months after being appointed to the newly created role, to become Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation. 

As a former long-serving Liberal Democrat Member of the Scottish Parliament for Shetland, Scott has a long history working with the fish industry and described this move as “a logical and super step forward”.

Scott’s job spec at Murrayfield when he was appointed in June 2019 was to “oversee Scottish Rugby’s corporate affairs and media operations alongside proactively developing the organisation’s relationships with government, national stakeholders and the member clubs of the Union”.

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The post was created in response to Board member Lesley Thomson’s internal review into the Keith Russell sacking and the issues related to corporate governance and communication with stakeholders which that episode raised.

It has been a brief affair but Scott insisted that his time with Scottish Rugby has been a positive experience.

“For those of you who know my Shetland background, I have worked with the fish farm industry for 20 years so being asked to join their representative body as CEO is logical and super step forward for me,” he said. “I will miss the world of competitive international sport, and will go back to being a passionate fan again.”

“Scottish salmon is the UK’s biggest food export. Its value to the economy is immense and it has the ability to help lead Scotland out of the Covid crisis, building on its sustainable foundations and driving a green recovery.” 

It is not clear at this stage whether the Head of External Affairs post will be continued at a time when Scottish Rugby is looking to find £14million in savings in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The nature of the role means that it is very hard to quantify the impact Scott had on Scottish Rugby, but his familiarity with the Scottish political scene has been viewed as a major asset during the COVID-19 crisis. He leaves the organisation at a time when Murrayfield’s relationship with the Scottish Government is of critical importance to the survival of the business as it strives to get permission to allow crowds into Murrayfield and to restart the game at club level. 

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About David Barnes 3956 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Mr Scott will be a sad loss to the SRU, sometimes the behind the scenes work that is very important isnt always obvious. Whoever replaces him has some massive shoes to fill.

  2. Head of external Affairs or Public Affairs is inevitably a non-job in a large bureaucratic entity. Having one tells its own sorry story.

  3. Lovely headline!

    In a slightly different but related context, they do say that half the money spent on marketing is wasted, but no-one can ever be absolutely certain which half….

    Clearly TS has been the wrong man in the wrong job, working for the wrong people. Just ask his former political colleagues…..

  4. Brought nothing to the party and will leave no legacy. The SRU can’t afford more jobs for the boys esp as there are no games for HRH to attend for quite a while. The snouts will be bored.

  5. This was a vanity role created as part of empire building in EH12.

    “ The nature of the role means that it is very hard to quantify the impact Scott had on Scottish Rugby”. Yes up to a point. If the wider organisation can’t see the value you bring that is a problem.


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